Very Serious Zombie Awards

It’s awards season and the Village press is first in line:

PSquared, POLITICO and POLITICO Pro’s Policy + Politics Conference and Awards Dinner, is Tuesday, Dec. 6. PSquared will highlight the ups, downs, debates and decisions that shaped politics and policymaking in 2011 and honor POLITICO Policymakers of the Year in the Energy, Health Care and Technology fields.

We’re pleased to announce our Policymakers of the Year:

Energy Policymaker of the Year: Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator

Health Care Policymaker of the Year: Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee

Technology Policymakers of the Year: Sen. Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

Also joining the dinner for a Keynote Conversation will be:

White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett

The conference will kick off with three panel discussions looking at the key issues in policymaking this year and will be followed by the Policymaker of the Year Awards Dinner.

You’ll notice that Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan is to be feted as the “health care policymaker of the year.” This is the man who proposed to make the elderly parasites, moochers and looters shop around for bargains in bypass surgeries to save money.

Here’s how Paul Krugman described it:

A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that to get coverage equivalent to what they have now, older Americans would have to pay vastly more out of pocket under the Paul Ryan plan than they would if Medicare as we know it was preserved. Based on the budget office estimates, the typical senior would end up paying around $6,000 more out of pocket in the plan’s first year of operation.

By the way, defenders of the G.O.P. plan often assert that it resembles other, less unpopular programs. For a while they claimed, falsely, that Vouchercare would be just like the coverage federal employees get. More recently, I’ve been seeing claims that Vouchercare would be just like the system created for Americans under 65 by last year’s health care reform — a fairly remarkable defense from a party that has denounced that reform as evil incarnate.

So let me make two points. First, Obamacare was very much a second-best plan, conditioned by perceived political realities. Most of the health reformers I know would have greatly preferred simply expanding Medicare to cover all Americans. Second, the Affordable Care Act is all about making health care, well, affordable, offering subsidies whose size is determined by the need to limit the share of their income that families spend on medical costs. Vouchercare, by contrast, would simply hand out vouchers of a fixed size, regardless of the actual cost of insurance. And these vouchers would be grossly inadequate.

The editors of Politico and most of the wealthy Villagers probably think this won’t affect them because well … they’re not among the parasites, looters and moochers, are they? But perhaps they should think this through. Unless they are in the upper .1%, the real Richie Riches, they might not have enough money to pay for the expensive health care they may need when they get old either. Why, they might have to shop around for a cheap quack too.

Paul Ryan’s real approach to health care is to privatize it all and let “the market” sort it out. There’s nothing complicated about it or novel about it or creative about it. To honor him for his work on healthcare policy is akin to honoring Governor Scott Walker as Public Employee of the year.

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